IGCSE - Cambridge Certification

The Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education

The IGCSE is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14 to 16 year olds and Liceo Forteguerri is the first school in Pistoia, and indeed one of the few in Tuscany, to offer students the opportunity to obtain this extra school certificate of international recognition as part of their scholastic career, as well as their high school national diploma. The decision to adopt this international approach to learning brings Liceo Forteguerri in line with the Cambridge Upper Education curriculum, followed at International Schools all over the world. Recognised by universities, both in Italy and abroad, the IGCSE offers students an innovative set of task types and texts based on real-life learning and promotes at the same time both the development of knowledge and the extension of vital language skills in English, thus preparing students to successfully engage in a wide variety of subjects after they leave liceo and move forward into their academic lives at university. 

Currently, we are offering this extra qualification in two subjects, Biology and English as a Second Language, with the possibility of extending the range of subjects in the future. The choice of English and Biology makes the IGCSE option an excellent companion for the liceo’s already successful Curvatura Biomedica course. 

All courses are taught in English from the first to fourth year of liceo, with the final external exams being taken in May of the 4th year of liceo. The core concept that underpins the IGCSE is that of CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). This means that while students are studying Biology they are also strengthening their language skills at the same time, thereby integrating the two subjects. A gradual building of confidence in using the English language over a four-year course lends an element of stability in the learning process. This, in fact, is the main difference between IGCSE and the established suite of Cambridge exams Cambridge Upper Education (PET, First Certificate or Advanced). 

The English as a Second Language course is taught by mother tongue teachers, who focus on all four core language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing – with particular attention paid to pronunciation and the use of authentic material from a wide variety of academic subjects, with the aim of better providing students with a broader choice of study options at university level.

Lessons take place in the afternoon and the hours dedicated to the IGCSE courses can be used as part of ‘Offerta Formativa’ (PCTO) and credit system in the calculation of a student’s annual scholastic mark. Furthermore, courses are free and students pay for the final Cambridge exam enrolment fee. 

The pilot project made up of a group of students from liceo classico which launched the IGCSE in a.s. 2017-18 achieved excellent results and the school is looking forward to making the IGCSE an established part of its curriculum for the 21st century! 

Here is the link to the  Cambridge Assessment International Education webpage where details of IGCSE are discussed in detail: